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MILAN — Dolce & Gabbana’s first children’s wear collection will hit stores in July and it’s unmistakably the brainchild of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.

This story first appeared in the June 15, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“It’s a miniature version of our signature line,” Gabbana told WWD.

To further drive the point home, the designers did not skimp on fabrics. “This is not the moment to pull back on quality, which remains a priority,” said Dolce.

The debut collection, which bows for fall, is extensive, comprising about 1,300 stockkeeping units and all product categories — clothing, innerwear, beachwear, accessories and footwear, targeting newborns and boys and girls up to 10. It also includes a unique and exquisite division dedicated to the baptismal ceremony.

Gabbana insisted on functionality, based on thorough research. “I didn’t know much about this world, but Domenico’s brother has three children aged two to six,” said Gabbana.

“We interviewed all the mothers because the collection must be practical. We learned a lot, plenty of details. For example, it’s better to have sleeveless onesies and freedom of movement — kids don’t want to feel too constricted,” added Dolce.

In addition to daily wear, the collection includes premium sartorial pieces and a sportier, gym component.

The girl’s lineup includes cotton trousers and breezy dresses embellished with floral patterns inspired by bright Caltagirone majolica prints and blouses with chiffon ribbons or fitted jackets featuring Baroque-inspired designs reminiscent of traditional Sicilian tapestry motifs. Small cherubs and floral details adorn long-sleeved dresses and crepe de chine blouses trimmed with delicate white lace. Sheepskin and cashmere capes flank tweed bouclé jackets in green and dusty pink lined with Dolce & Gabbana’s iconic white on black polka dots and leopard prints. The designers also had school days in mind, and rounded out the collection with denim-effect sweatshirts, nylon down jackets and suede sheepskin jackets.

Asked about the timing of the launch, Gabbana said there was “no right moment, it was the logical consequence” as part of the brand’s natural evolution. “We had fun working on it,” added Dolce.

The young Dolce & Gabbana boys are equally stylish. Among the standout items: tailored velvet, brocade or classic pinstriped suits — and a tuxedo suit; tricot jogging outfits; reversible padded jackets with quilted linings, and plenty of washed denim.

“The line is conceived as a further expansion of the Dolce & Gabbana world, in terms of product, design content, craftsmanship, function and positioning,” said Gabbana.

The designers also did not pull back on the collection dedicated to the baptismal ceremony: sophisticated tulle dresses, lace-trimmed shirts, white cashmere coats and mini suits with silk shantung jackets and trousers. Lace caps with silk crepe de chine lining, cashmere or lapin blankets with silk satin trimming and lace and velvet shoes complete the lineup.

“This is an homage to Italy and to our tradition. It’s part of our culture and marks one of the most important moments in our lives,” said Gabbana, explaining that he and Dolce drew from their own experience and retrieved their original designs from that special occasion. “Domenico, his sister, his niece —they were all wearing the same long, embroidered dress on their baptism,” said Gabbana.

The company has opened a dedicated showroom in Via Spiga in Milan, and the collection will be distributed globally through a network of children’s wear boutiques and department stores.

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